Double Your Pleasure, Double Your Fun in the Rebel – Stakes Analysis with suggested Plays

BY: JOSHUA PRAIN

January 18, 2016: Scenes from Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, AR. Justin Manning/ESW/CSM

Due to the ongoing issues at Santa Anita Park and the abundance of entries it created for Saturday’s G2 Rebel Stakes, Oaklawn has split the Kentucky Derby prep into two divisions. Some love it, some hate it.  Sure, it may water down the field a touch, but a handful of these horses would not have ran in this spot to begin with.  It’ll be a great opportunity for East Coast fans to see some West Coast stars, such as Game Winner and Improbable.  Bob Baffert has won the Rebel a record six times, and now he’ll get the chance to go for seven and eight in the same year.  With the split, the purse becomes $750,000 for each division with 63.75 Kentucky Derby points allotted in each race.  Other notable races on the card include the G2 Azeri and the Essex Handicap.

Division 1
Race 8 – Rebel Stakes (G2) Post Time – 4:42 PM
Purse $750,000. For Three-Year Olds. One and One Sixteenth Miles
PP Horse A/S Med Jockey Wgt Trainer ML
1 Extra Hope (KY) 3/C L M E Smith 117 R E Mandella 6/1
2 Long Range Toddy (KY) 3/C L J K Court 119 S M Asmussen 10/1
3 Corruze (KY) 3/C L S Elliott 117 C A Hartman 30/1
4 Easy Shot (KY) 3/C L R E Eramia 117 J K Desormeaux 15/1
5 Proud Nation (KY)  3/C L D Cabrera 117 J Sharp 50/1
6 Ninth Street (KY) 3/C L R Santana, Jr. 117 S M Asmussen 50/1
7 Classy John (LA) 3/C L D Cohen 117 D Stewart 15/1
8 Galilean (CA) 3/C L F Prat 122 J Hollendorfer 3/1
9 Improbable (KY) 3/C L D Van Dyke 119 B Baffert 3/5

I think #9 Improbable is the best horse in Baffert’s barn and I expect him to win in this spot quite easily.  You’ll have to get creative to turn him into some value, but this isn’t a horse I want to try to beat.  The City Zip colt is three for three lifetime and has improved his speed figures in each outing.  Drayden Van Dyke will do his best to tuck in behind the leaders coming into the first turn and pounce at the appropriate time.  If all goes to plan, he’ll keep some in the tank for wherever the connections decide to point next.

I don’t plan on going crazy with vertical wagers, but if there is a price horse I think can possibly slip into the exotic picture it would be #4 Easy Shot. The Keith Desormeaux trainee put in a decent effort over a sloppy track in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes last time out, finishing third to a couple of nice horses.  The son of Trappe Shot will need to improve, but he has very capable connections that can make that happen.

If you’re going by the “eye test” #8 Galilean looks like a shoo-in for second here.  He’s won his last two outings in impressive fashion and is three for four lifetime.  My issue is all four of those races were restricted stakes and now he must go up against a horse like Improbable?  The jury is still out on this one for me.

#1 Extra Hope makes the second start of his three-year-old campaign here. He was victorious in a one-mile allowance at Santa Anita at the end of January.  Shanghai Bobby is not a sire that really screams distance, but if the Richard Mandella trainee can improve off his last race he should contend for a piece of the exotics.  Mike Smith picks up the mount for the first time.

 

Division 2
Race 10 – Rebel Stakes (G2) Post Time – 6:06 PM
Purse $750,000. For Three-Year Olds. One and One Sixteenth Miles
PP Horse A/S Med Jockey Wgt Trainer ML
1 Market King (KY) 3/C L J R Velazquez 117 D W Lukas 30/1
2 Laughing Fox (KY) 3/C L R Santana, Jr. 119 S M Asmussen 10/1
3 Parsimony (PA) 3/C L M Gutierrez 117 D F O’Neill 30/1
4 Jersey Agenda (KY) 3/C L J L Ortiz 117 S M Asmussen 15/1
5 Game Winner (KY)  3/C L J Rosario 119 B Baffert 4/5
6 Omaha Beach (KY) 3/C L M E Smith 117 R E Mandella 7/2
7 Our Braintrust (MD) 3/C L D Cohen 117 M E Casse 6/1
8 Gunmetal Gray (KY) 3/C L F Prat 122 J Hollendorfer 10/1
9 Kaziranga (KY) 3/C L R E Eramia 117 S M Asmussen 50/1
10 Captain Von Trapp (KY) 3/C L R A Vazquez 119 S M Asmussen 15/1

Of the two divisions, I feel we’re much more likely to see an upset in this one. The horse I want to take a shot with on top is #7 Our Braintrust who was beat narrowly last out in the G3 Withers Stakes back in February.  The Mark Casse trainee cuts back in distance and adds blinkers, two angles that should make him a strong contender.  I also like the fact that he picks up local jockey David Cohen.  I’ll be using a few horses in my horizantal plays but I give this one a slight edge to score a win.

#6 Omaha Beach kind of reminds me of another Kentucky Derby contender and the current points leader, War of Will. Both horses are by War Front and both started their careers on the grass, only to improve after switching to dirt.  The Richard Mandella trainee is only a maiden winner but has never been worse than third in five career starts.  That last effort was very impressive and perhaps this colt has finally figured it out.

#5 Game Winner will be the obvious favorite and rightfully so considering he is the reigning Breeders’ Cup Juvenile champ. Baffert is typically good off the layoff, but we shall see if the two-year-old form holds up against this field.  I expect the undefeated son of Candy Ride to come back to the pack now that others have had more time to mature.  It should also be noted that the runner ups from the Juvenile haven’t exactly come back to flatter him.

Trainer Steve Asmussen sends out a whopping six horses split between the two Rebel divisions. For some reason when entries were drawn a mistake was made and this division ended up with four of his runners.  They were supposed to be split evenly between the two divisions.  Anyway, I don’t think it affects much and the horse of his that I like in here is #2 Laughing Fox. The son of Union Rags makes his stakes debut and he will get Asmussen’s first call rider, who likely had his choice of mounts.  This colt is two for two as a three-year-old, both starts over this Oaklawn surface.  You get a fair price here for a horse that figures to improve again.

Suggested Plays

 Race 8

$1 Superfectas

9 w 4,8 w 1,4,8 w ALL = $24

9 w 4,8 w ALL w 1,4,8 = $24

Race 10

 $4 Exacta Key Box

 7 w 2,6,5 = $24

$1 Trifecta Box

 2,5,6,7 = $24

Bonus Play: All Stakes Pick 4 (Races 7-10)

5 w 9 w 2,5,6,8 w 2,4,5,6,7,10 = $12

Good luck!

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